Orbost & District Historical Society , Orbost
A small sepia photograph with six men in front of a wooden barn. They are bagging maize. In the foreground are two rows of filled bags. On the right is a lifting machine to take the bags to the top storey. On the far right is a water tank on a stand
Maize has been grown on the Orbost flats for at least 70 years. When early settlers began to arrive on the Snowy River somewhere in the 1880s, the land was mostly
swamps and heavily timbered jungle on the river frontages. The swamps were drained, bit by bit, with short handled shovels working in mud and water. The frontages were cleared by axe and shovel and fire. Several kinds of crops were experimented with such as hops, hemp and maize which grew particularly well and became the main crop of district. The problem then was to thresh and deliver the product to the market. A small single cob machine was brought here and one man turned the handle, while the boy or Mum fed the cobs singly into the machine. A good day’s work would thresh about 50 bushels or about 12 bags (4 bushels). The task then was to cart the maize to market. For a few years this was done by horses and dray carrying about 60 bushels to Mossiface, where it was loaded onto river boats to Lakes Entrance, and then by ocean boats to Melbourne. (information from NEWSLETTER OCTOBER, 2006)
The growing of maize in the Orbost district contributed significantly to the economy of the township for many years, The many maize cribs once seen on the surrounding farms have now disappeared and this photograph is a pictorial record of that significance.
Inscriptions & Markings
"on back - "Thrashing Maize"